Gone are the days when you can just take a wonky shot of your Starbucks coffee, apply the same Valencia filter, post it to Instagram and still generate content and likes.
Nowadays, Instagram has grown so rapidly that it has over 1 billion active users every month and out of this 1 billion, 500 million reportedly use it every day. With its stories feature and ability to share pictures and videos, Instagram is now the social platform where businesses, bloggers and influencers come together to promote their products and visual content.
All this information can be extremely daunting, especially for us mere mortals who are just starting to get into the Instagram game. Not all of us can afford to hire professional photographers, flash out $5000 for a beautiful wardrobe, or fly around the world to chase sunsets.
That’s why today, I am coming at you with some of the key Instagram apps that will not only improve your visual content, but will also grow your Instagram following!
Sounds good? Let’s go!
For your reading convenience, I’ve categorised the apps into different aims:
- Photo Editing Apps to make your photos look polished and professional
- Video Editing Apps to create visually-pleasing videos and stories
- Graphics Apps to design beautiful covers and graphics
Instagram Photo Editing Apps
Let’s face it, not all of us are professional photographers or photo editing masters. Luckily, there are so many great photo editing apps nowadays that help us inject a dose of professionalism into our pictures.
1. VSCO Cam
I use VSCO’s editing tools pretty much everyday. It’s one of the best Instagram photo editing apps if I might say so myself. As a beginner, the app’s interface is very user-friendly and it’s really easy to use.
There is a wide variety of presets that you can choose from to create the vibe you want for your feed. If you want to experiment in creating your own preset, you can definitely play with VSCO’s photo settings. From the exposure to editing the photo angles, the free version comes with enough photo editing tools to get you started.
Personally, I’ve upgraded to the VSCO premium plan because I really love this app so much! At $19.99 per year, this unlocks a huge variety of presets and filters, plus additional photo editing tools. I really feel that I’m getting my money’s worth with all these features and I want to stress that I’m not sponsored, I just love this app!
2. Lightroom CC
You’ve probably heard of this app and the hype is true.
Lightroom CC is one of the most versatile app when it comes to editing your pictures to give it a professional look. In fact, photography experts such as Peter McKinnon and Sorelle Amore use Lightroom to edit their photos.
I always use Lightroom to edit the lighting, colours and angles. Once I’m happy with that, I pop the picture over to VSCO if I fancy creating a specific vibe with one of their many filters. The only advice I would give is that be aware that Lightroom is more technical compared to other photo editing apps out there, so I would suggest watching Youtube tutorials online. That’s where I learned how to edit my photos to give it a ‘sunset-glow’ vibe for my travel instagram feed.
The best news is that Lightroom CC has a free mobile version, so you can edit the picture directly on your phone, then upload it to your socials immediately.
Another great photo editing app that’s free. When I first started learning how to edit my pictures, I used VSCO and Snapseed. No investment needed, and the filters did pretty much all the work with little tweaks from the manual settings. Now that I’m used to using Lightroom, I use Snapseed from time to time for their filters and if I don’t have my laptop with me.
If you’re looking to use Snapseed to edit your instagram photos for that ‘instagrammer’ vibe, I found a great Youtube video by simplyteee where she explains very clearly and simply (see what I did there?) how she edits her instagram pictures on Snapseed.
Instagram Video Editing Apps
I’m not a Youtuber. Any vlogging attempt will likely end up with zoomed-in shots of my nose or enough vibrations to make you feel motion sick. But do I want beautifully-shot videos to create an aesthetically-pleasing Instagram stories? Heck yes! That’s why I use these incredible video editing apps to take my Instagram videos from motion sickness to just sick.
It took a few trials and disappointments for me to find this app. Now I can’t imagine using any other video editing apps.
At first, I was a bit skeptical because it’s a free app, but after using it for awhile, I can’t understand why this app is not charging top money for its value!
Beginners will love how easy it is to edit videos using Quik, since all it takes is uploading your videos, and there are a few video styles that you can choose from. The app pretty much takes care of the effects for you according to the style you chose, and if needed, you can edit it directly and add more pizzah if you want.
You can take a look at one of my Instagram videos that I’ve edited using this super cool app.
This video editing app is especially recommended if you’re not a fan of the ‘this music is not available in your country/region’ message on Instagram.
If like me, you prefer to have some beat and rhythm to your Instagram videos or stories, then this app is for you. I always seem to find the exact same song I want from their vast libraries, and at the same time discover new artists and songs.
I included this because so many beginner Youtubers use this and I do use it from time to time.
Like Quik, iMovie allows you to edit your videos as easily or as complex as you want it to be. It has a free mobile version, so you can directly edit your videos on your mobile before uploading it to Instagram. I normally use Quik more often because it’s easier to use on mobile, which I always have with me.
When I first drafted this list, I shared three different graphic creating tools. However, I narrowed it down to only one because I want to keep this as simple and fuss-free as possible, and if I’m honest, this is the only graphic creating app you’ll ever need.
First recommended to me by a professional graphic designer, who admits to using this app to create his flawless blog graphics and Instagram stories.
Again, this app is free and super simple to use. You can start by choosing the format your want and the app will resize the graphic for you, exactly according to the size and dimensions it should be! Goodbye, awkward cut-off Instagram stories! On top of that they have a HUGE variety of templates, graphics, pictures, fonts and design samples that you can choose from!
I cannot rave about this app enough because I feel like it has definitely helped improve not only the aesthetics of my Instagram, but also my Pinterest graphics. If you have the means to get the Canva for work version, I would definitely advise you to upgrade.
As you might already know, although Instagram is a visual content platform, it takes a lot more than beautifully-edited pictures and stories to successfully grow a substantial following on this platform. You also need a clear strategy, effective analytics tools and proper planning and organisation. I’m currently working on a separate post for this topic, so stay tuned on my socials if you’re interested in tips and advice on growing your Insta!
Also, if we’re not already friends on Instagram, come say hi and connect with me on mine! See you there!
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